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Surgical Management of Infections and Other Complications Resulting From Drug Abuse

D. Dick Clark, MD
Arch Surg. 1970;101(5):619-623. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1970.01340290075017.
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Case histories of five patients treated are presented to illustrate the gamut of medical and surgical problems associated with drug addiction. Infected and abscessed injection sites were the most frequent complications encountered. Pulmonary, hepatic, and cardiac disease are prevalent in the addict population and must be considered in treating the addict. The majority of drug users seen in hospitals are not addicted and do not require narcotic support while hospitalized. In the seriously debilitated addict, methadone hydrochloride should be administered in conjunction with intensive supportive therapy. Roentgenograms of an infected region should be taken to reveal presence of gas or foreign body. Wide debridement, antitetanus prophylaxis, and appropriate antibiotic therapy, using two broadspectrum drugs, should be instituted. Postoperative care in concert with psychiatric and social service consultants must be conducted in order to strive for rehabilitation.


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